Betty in the Garden Talks to God

Over here,
in this garden chair. Mums.
Scent of peppery autumn.
Mums I can no longer see.
The awful harbingers of cold.
Yet, I am told, still brassy in pots at my feet.

Look, God. I am blind. How much rain
can the wind fling to my arms thin
as butterfly wings. I hold nothing,
only this glass of rosemary tea to remember.
I move through black without stars,
except for the shadow, a gleam of my daughter’s teeth.

Adams ago, I was lithe in his arms.
We twirled to “Stardust” at the Purim Ball. Time
and space, trysts of joy.
At 20, we journeyed out not far from the river.
I built a turret among the garden of willows.
I could climb to the clouds with my sewing basket.

When we traveled West, issued for war,
I gave birth to a son. How many times
I created the garden for love.
The second house, I planted beds of black-eyed Susans,
lilies, mustard seed, the cherry tree.
Two sons, two daughters called bobwhite songs from the fields.

Sulphurs flitted bright as pennies.
The children followed the river’s dissecting directions.
Was the copperhead coiled at the door an omen of grief?

When Adam died,
I met another at the seashore and lived in a wooded house.
For each stairstep, I chose a brilliant hue under the skylight,
and the covenant you promised flickered on the walls.
God, we danced in that rainbow.

When he died, another opened his arms for me
and we lived between the sun and the mountains.
I picked the Meyer lemon trees in the garden
and ate of the resilient fruit.

Adam after Adam after Adam, I took you with me
like a story book tucked under my arm,
you and I walking the thin thread of matter,
extravagant in fortune and loss.

Where are you?

Alone, at 96, expelled from clock and calendar,
I am an old Eve, my heart an apple. No, my heart
one of those apple dolls, all-wizened.

Daughter, on my arm, escort me to that bowl of figs
you say waits for me on the table.

Bonnie Maurer, MFA in poetry, IU, is the author of Reconfigured (Finishing Line Press, 2009) and The Reconfigured Goddess: Poems of a Breast Cancer Survivor (Blurb, 2013). Her poems have appeared in The New York Times, So It Goes, the Kurt Vonnegut Library Journal, Nimrod International Journal, and others, as well as on IndyGo buses and the ceiling of St. Vincent Hospital cancer wing. She works for Arts for Learning as a poet-in-the-schools and community, as a copy editor for the Indianapolis Business Journal, and as an Ai Chi (aquatic flowing energy) instructor at the Arthur M. Glick Jewish Community Center. Currently, she welds art using local junkyards and bike shops. Contact This poem was created for the ReligionSpirituality, and the Arts Adam and Eve seminar.

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